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Monday, February 11, 2013

Bury this!

Burial:  In the simplest terms, it is the act of placing a dead person in the ground.  The remains have no further use - so we bury them.  Oh, don't turn me off yet, thinking this is going to be some morbid and disgusting topic dealing with physical death.  I want us to look at burial in the sense of some of the "stuff" we actually might do well burying!  There were customs of burial dating back something like 130,000 years ago, so this idea of "burying" the dead has quite a long history.  One of the reasons some think burial came about was to attempt to bring "closure".  It was a way of bringing an end to something.  There is more to this burial thing than just the placing of someone's physical remains into a tomb or a grave.  In fact, we might just find something of value in considering just what gets buried and why!

So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!  (Romans 8:12-14 MSG)

We bury a whole lot of "stuff" in life.  Some of us bury past hurts - trying to accomplish some type of closure to the events which have caused us such pain.  The problem with burying these hurts is the "decay" they cause in their "place of burial".  Others of us try to bury our failures and faults - hoping they will live unnoticed, but somehow they just keep "coming back to haunt us".  Still, there are times when we "bury" the emotional stuff we just cannot deal with right now because it is not a convenient time - but even buried emotions surface, coming back at the most inopportune times.

What we fail to recognize is the way we "bury" things determines if the closure will be permanent.  When we just "put things under the surface" in our lives, we might conceal them for a while, but it is more like creating a "time capsule" rather than a final disconnection with these things.  Time capsules are created for the purpose of "revisiting" the items in them, are they not?  They are a means of "connection" in the future with what we put there in the present.  The sad thing is - we want disconnection with these things, but we deal with them in the wrong way.

I think the idea of "burial" is a good illustration of how God wants us to deal with our past hurts, our present sins, and our emotional upsets.  Yet, if we don't understand the principles of "burial" as he taught them, we might just be burying them in such a way which affords us unnecessary issues in return.  If a human body is buried too near the surface, what happens with the first really good rain?  Isn't it exposed again?  If the human body is buried too near a source of some other resource, such as a water supply, will its decay not cause some contamination of the resource?  I think the "manner" and "place" of burial is important because burial for the sake of dealing with stuff which gives us problems requires expertise we don't possess!

The "manner" and "place" in which God asks us to deal with the things which we need to give "closure" to in our lives is to take them to him and lay them at his feet.  Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but let me assure you, we don't always think something "buried out in the open" like that will work.  So, we try our own methods of burial because they seem to at least "cover over" the thing we want closure with.  The problem with this is things not dealt with out in the open often come back to cause us problems at a later time.  Maybe this is why God asked his people to lay things on altars, lay hands on the sacrifices they offered, etc.  There was a connection, but also a way of showing the manner in which God deals with our "stuff" which needs closure.  He puts it right out there in the open - then he deals with it!  

The "place" God requires for burial is at his feet.  The "manner" he uses to deal with the thing we need closure with is "out in the open".  Now, this doesn't sound like burial to me since there is no "covering" over the stuff we need closure with, right?  Yet, if we really see the transformation which occurs on the altar, we might just reconsider our "perception" of God's methods of bringing closure.  The thing on the altar is consumed - it is transformed - by the power of God.  The burnt offering probably was no longer recognizable by its "features" any longer - it was transformed by the fire.  God's means of dealing with our failures is not to point them out to us, but to ask us to place them on the altar, allowing him to alter them (transformation).  In turn, there is closure to the influence of the failure on us - we are free to live anew.

I think we might just give some thought to God's "manner" and "place" of burial in our lives.  Just sayin!